Celebrity Silhouette debuts to rave reviews

Celebrity Silhouette debutsCelebrity Cruises new 2,886 passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted this week in Hamburg, Germany. Initial reviews indicate the line’s fourth new ship in less than three years offers far more than a cookie-cutter version of her three older sisters.

“The most striking change was replacement of glass blowing with the Lawn Club Grill, allowing more passengers to enjoy 1/2 acre of real grass in an engaging and tantalizing culinary experience with views of the lawn and the best oceanviews available” cruise expert Stewart Chiron, CEO CruiseGuy.com, told Gadling late Thursday from Hamburg.

Fans of Celebrity Silhouette’s three sister-ships will find familiar features including the signature Lawn Club, an on-deck area with actual growing grass. New in this part of the ship is the 48-seat Lawn Club Grill, replacing the Corning Glass Works feature on earlier models. The open-air outdoor restaurant allows guests to select and grill their own meats, barbecued pizza or fresh vegetables by themselves or with the help of the ship’s chefs at night for an additional fee. Accompanying beverages include wine, frosty buckets of beer and pitchers of sangria.”I’ve been on the new ship for about 12 hours now, and already love the few changes Celebrity has made to this ship” said Linda Garrison of About.com.

Another change, a new complimentary breakfast and lunch venue called The Porch, serves lighter fare including sandwiches and soups. Not far is The Art Studio where guests are invited to explore the artist within them with a Master Artist from the ArtCenter South Florida via a variety of activities including jewelry making, learning to sketch, make a mosaic or travel journal of their vacation.

“The enhancements on Silhouette over her three predecessors are striking. The Lawn Club received six cabanas and hammocks” said Chiron.

Those cabanas can accommodate up to four guests and are WiFi-enabled in what the line calls “your own cabana-styled haven” called the Alcove. Cabana rental includes the use of an iPad, continuing a partnership/program with Apple offered on other Solstice-class ships that also enables self-guided tours of the ship’s extensive art collection.

“Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ships were game changers when Solstice debuted in 2008” concluded Chiron “With the introduction of the fourth ship in the series, Celebrity further changed the game into uncharted territory.”

Celebrity Silhouette joins her three older sisters Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Eclipse. Thursday’s naming ceremony of the 122,000-ton ship, the largest to be officially named in Germany, was streamed live on Celebrity’s Facebook page and officially named by US travel agent and Cancer survivor Michelle Morgan following a Celebrity tradition in supporting breast cancer charities.

Compared to her younger sisters, Celebrity Silhouette was also built with 17 additional cabins. Upcoming Celebrity Reflection, due in 2012, will add 89 cabins on an entire extra deck, increasing capacity to 3,030 passengers. New 251 square foot Aqua Class suites will be added with all the current amenities plus butler service.

Celebrity Silhouette debuts
with sailings to the Holy Land and eastern Mediterranean from Rome’s port of Civitavecchia before repositioning to Bayonne, New Jersey to sail Caribbean itineraries through the winter. New Yorkers can enter to win a free ride on the new ship in the line’s NYC Celebrity Silhouette Sweepstakes through August 31, 2011.

Flickr photo by madle-fotowelt.de

Celebrity Cruises to Australia with new generation ship

Celebrity Cruises AustraliaCelebrity Cruises is heading to the land down under in a big way in the 2012-2013 season with one of its newest generation ships. Nearly-new 122,000 ton Celebrity Solstice will sail in Austraila and New Zealand waters starting in the summer of 2012 in a move that signals great confidence in the Austraila cruise market.

“Celebrity Solstice has satisfied guests around the world since we introduced her in 2008, and the obvious next step is to send her to Australia,” said Dan Hanrahan, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “With this move, we are delivering another way for people to have the best vacation experience possible, in one of the most stunning geographic regions of the world.”2850-passenger Celebrity Solstice will sail from Sydney in New South Wales, Fremantle in Western Australia and Auckland in New Zealand, with cruises ranging from 12 to 18 nights in length.

At 63m high, Solstice is too tall to fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge so it will miss stopping at the new terminal at White Bay and instead berth at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.

“Travelers around the world value their vacation time, and we want to give them more opportunities to enjoy Celebrity’s signature attributes, including the first Lawn Club and Hot Glass show at sea, more spacious staterooms, our AquaClass staterooms geared toward the spa enthusiast lifestyle, multiple specialty restaurants, the Celebrity iLounge and state-of-the-art entertainment, in more places. The culture and way of life in Australia and New Zealand are an ideal backdrop for our Solstice Class style and the overall onboard experience.”

Full details will be available on March 23, when bookings for Celebrity’s new 2012-13 Australia/New Zealand itineraries will open for sale. Bookings for the 1,814-guest Celebrity Century’s 2011-12 Australia/New Zealand cruises are open now.

Flickr photo by jemmingway


New Celebrity cruise ships to be bigger and have more features

New Celebrity ShipsCelebrity Cruises president Dan Hanrahan announced today some big changes to their popular Solstice-class ships. As an evolution of the Solstice-class signature Lawn Club, an on-deck grass area, the line will add several new features on upcoming Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection.

Calling the new Celebrity cruise ships an “evolution of what we’re doing” Hanrahan outlined the upcoming changes.

While Celebrity Silhouette will be the same 122,000 tons as her three younger sisters, the new Celebrity Reflection will be wider, taller and weigh in at 126,000 tons with the addition of another deck of staterooms.

Among other features that will shake things up on the new ships:

  • The new Lawn Club Grill, an open-air restaurant and display kitchen will take place of the grassy area on other Solstice-class ships. A $30 charge per person will apply.
  • Continuing parent-company Royal Caribbean Internationals focus on the arts, The Art Studio allows small, intimate hands-on interaction and instruction with experts.
  • The Gathering Table will be where culinary activity becomes part of the art experience. Cabana-style private retreats called The Alcoves will offer the popular adults serenity experience for an additional charge. Picnic baskets will be available for an extra charge also.
  • Continuing the serenity focus, The Hideaway will an indoor, tree house like ambiance for casual dining.
  • Signature lounge Michael’s Club will evolve into beer tasting venue with 50 international beers with a Rascal Flats feel by day and a Kings of Leon feel at night.

Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships feature larger than normal staterooms including spa-focused AquaClass accommodations. These premium staterooms include the line’s Concierge-class amenities, priority seating in Blu, a specialty restaurant created just for AquaClass guests. Other Concierge-class amenities include priority check-in, evening hors d’ooeuvres, a menu of pillows to select from, Egyptian cotton over-sized towels, complementary shoe-shine service, use of a golf umbrella and binoculars and more.

Celebrity Cruises currently operates 10 ships world-wide sailing itineraries in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Galapagos Islands.

Flickr photo by mascardo1